The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability The Vegetarian Myth discussion

The Reviews are interesting alone

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message 1: by Steve (last edited Oct 15, 2012 06:44AM) (new)

Steve I haven't read this book.

This comment is about the reviews I read. This comment is about the book.

I read some of the reviews of this book both here and on to get a sense of the book. No sarcasm, that was interesting in itself.

A number of people who gave the book positive reviews had problems with facts that Keith got wrong. Different facts disputed in different positive reviews.

If I read a nonfiction book that got facts wrong, I would not be giving it a positive review.

I noticed in investigating this book that Lierre Keith doesn't have a research, medical or scientific background. She is a writer with a liberal arts degree.

I know it isn't a popular idea on the internet, but credentials matter.

Having references isn't enough. Universities and degree programs exist for some good reasons. Having an education in the subject you write about helps. That education teaches how to discern good references from bad, likely facts from non-facts and teaches you how to properly interpret the literature you cite.

A particularly damming review on came from this academic who studies a field Keith writes about and hasn't studied:

Next, a Registered Dietitian comments on Keith's statements ( another field Keith didn't study but wrote authoritatively in her book ):

Interestingly, Keith was never even on a vegan diet. In this radio interview at about 4:45 Keith admits that she used to binge on eggs. There are many diseases that come out of factory farms, some neurological. For all Keith knows her health issues happened as a result of eating eggs:

I just finished reading the book "The China Study". It is about the largest human nutrition study in history. The author was the lead of that project and has been a nutrition researcher for 50 years.

When you can read a book with credentials like that, why would anybody settle for a book like this, without any credentials?

A happy week to everybody.


message 2: by Sara (new) - added it

Sara I recently read an excerpt of this book, and found it intriguing. It read more like a memoir or a statement of philosophy than a traditional non-fiction book. I found her premise intriguing and thought-provoking, enough so that I'm interested in reading the rest of the book. She argues that vegetarians focus on the morality of their position without considering what the costs of a plant based diet are. I'm not sure what she thinks we should eat, though as I said, the concept interests me.

message 3: by Steve (new)

Steve I haven't read the content at this link yet. Supposedly some group decided to buy a web site to contradict all of the factual mistakes Keith made in her book:

message 4: by Sara (new) - added it

Sara Steve, I really appreciate your taking the time to respond to my comment and the link. I checked it out, and much of the content is still under construction. There were several robust pages under "Animal Rights and Ethics", and some interesting links to other sites. She must have struck a nerve if some have take such a step. :-) The book is still on my wish/to read list, though when (or even if) I'll get to it is unknown. So many books, so little time. . . . Meanwhile, thanks again for taking the time.

message 5: by Steve (new)

Steve It is my understanding that the site is a work in progress and a wiki, like wikipedia -- readers contribute the content, after it has been reviewed by the staff for accuracy.

I'm told that the content that is there, now, is very good.

Regardless, read the reviews and comments on Amazon.

Even people who liked the book had problems with significant errors in fact made by Keith.

For a nonfiction book, that is a nail in a coffin for me. I buy nonfiction books to learn facts, not to be misled.

Good luck

message 6: by Pam (new) - rated it 2 stars

Pam I think you have to read it as a memoir, and it's half presented like a memoir. I am not too far in it, so I will have to see how much/how long I can stand her putting forth her opinion as if it is fact (she does a lot of "vegans think..." when she means "when I was a vegan, I thought..." or something of the sort)

message 7: by Steve (last edited Aug 07, 2010 08:41AM) (new)

Steve Hi Pam;

I understand your point, but I've been read accounts of talks she is giving to promote her book and I've read essays about the book she has authored. Keith isn't presenting her book as a personal memoir. Keith is promoting her book as a treatise of facts. In that regard she is failing miserably. I encourage you to read this short review on Amazon:

I couldn't agree with your second point more.

Keith was a vegan for twenty years. I don't think a person can spend 20 years telling herself or telling other people that eating animals is wrong, start eating animals again and not face a lot of internal criticism. My guess is that her negative tone towards veganism is her way of dealing with it.

None of that contributes to the alleged motivation for the book, to clue people in about the problems of agriculture and civilization. So the reader has to ask her/himself why it is there?

message 8: by Steve (new)

Steve Finally, someone with formal credentials, research experience and an education in the subject ( none of which the author Lierre Keith has ) reviews Keith's claims about nutrition:

Review of “The Vegetarian Myth”

Wildrose VuVu Magoo Steve wrote: "I haven't read this book.

This comment is about the reviews I read. This comment is about the book.

I read some of the reviews of this book both here and on to get a sense of the boo..."

I would suggest checking out Denise Minger's critique of the China Study. The information he gathered is very good but the conclusions he drew from it are rather suspect...

message 10: by Steve (new)

Steve Wildrose,

I have heard of Denise Minger. My understanding is that her education was in journalism. Minger isn't a scientist or a medical/health professional of any kind. I don't think she is qualified to analyze the findings of a top scientist studying for decades.

Have a good weekend


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